The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership.
Hillenburg was selected for his efforts to return Rockingham Speedway to prominence. He bought the track at auction in October 2007 and in April of 2012 NASCAR returned to the track for the first time since 2004.
Also receiving votes were: Jimmie Johnson, Ricky Benton Racing, Ellen Siska and Tony Stewart.